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Flitwick Vicarages

The Vicarage about 1905 [Z1130/50/57]
The Vicarage about 1905 [Z1130/50/57]

The first reference to the parsonage at Flitwick dates from 1607, it is part of a terrier of properties belonging to the Archdeaconry of Bedford [ABE I]. The very modest house comprised a hall, a chamber with a loft above and an adjoining “nether house”. A terrier of 1798 notes that the house was built of timber (probably half-timbered), with a tiled roof. It now contained a parlour with a board floor, a hall with a brick floor, a kitchen with an earth floor and a buttery also with an earth floor, the number of rooms upstairs is not recorded but they are noted as having board floors and some of them were ceiled. A thatched two-bay lean-to barn stood outside.

Early 18th century vicars resided at the Flitwick vicarage as shown by responses to questionnaires sent out before episcopal visitations in 1712 and 1717. At this date it was not unusual for parsons to be non-resident, using their benefice as a source of income, further increased by leasing out the parsonage house. In 1771 the vicar wrote: “Our grand habitation … is now very well-filled” [CRT100/27/3(i) page 151].

Cambridge University Library has the archive of the Diocese of Ely, in which the Archdeaconry of Bedford resided from 1837 to 1914. There are three sets of documents relating to Flitwick Vicarage - they cover alterations in 1843 for William A Dawson [EDR/G3/40 MGA/BED/8], alterations 1861 for Thomas W D Brooks [EDR/G3/40 MGA/BED/34] and alterations in 1880 for Francis Ashpitel [EDR/G3/40 MGA/BED/69]

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the Vicarage [DV1/C129/129] found that it stood in 3.039 acres. Water came from a well and there was drainage to a cesspool. There was no electricity and the place was lighted by lamps.

Downstairs were: a drawing room; a dining room; a parish room; a servants’ hall; a kitchen and an office. There were five bedrooms upstairs along with a box room, a dressing room and a bathroom.

Outside were: a brick and slate stable and stalls with  aloft over “used for coal and Rubbish Room”; a brick and slate harness room “now used as tool house”; a brick and slate garage; a brick and slate bicycle shed; a brick and slate dog kennel and a brick and slate shed for oil. The valuer commented: “Well-kept garden and grounds. I think too big for a vicarage”.

The vicarage was demolished about 1961 and a new housing estate built party on the site and grounds. The site of the vicarage is today occupied by 4 and 6 Glebe Avenue. The vicarage moved to a new house in Dew Pond Road just off Church Road where it remains at the time of writing [2017].